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IndustryDepartment store
FateLocations rebranded as Marshall Field's in 2001
SuccessorMarshall Field's (2001 – 2006)
Macy's (after 2006)
FounderGeorge Draper Dayton
HeadquartersMinneapolis, Minnesota
ParentDayton-Hudson Corporation
(later Target Corporation)

Dayton's was an American department store chain founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1902 by George Draper Dayton. In 1969, the Detroit-based J.L. Hudson Company merged with the Dayton Company to form the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, adding 21 Michigan-based stores to the total. In 1990, the department store division of Dayton–Hudson (now Target Corporation) acquired Chicago-based Marshall Field's. Both Dayton's and Hudson's retained their individual store names until 2001, when they were united under the Marshall Field's nameplate. Prior to changing its name to Marshall Field's, Dayton's stores numbered 19, serving communities throughout the upper Midwest.

Dayton's was the parent of Target, opening the first Target in 1962 as the discount store version of Dayton's. Target quickly grew to become the majority of the company's business. In 2000, Dayton–Hudson was renamed Target Corporation. In 2004, Target finally divested its department store division to focus on discount retailing. May Company purchased the stores prior to its own acquisition by Federated Department Stores, which rebranded all the Marshall Field's stores as Macy's. Many Minnesotans have resisted the double name change, and continue to refer to "Dayton's" when speaking of the stores in Southdale, Rosedale, Ridgedale and the flagship downtown Minneapolis location, now closed.[1][2][3]


The original flagship Dayton's department store in downtown Minneapolis; followed by Macy's until March 2017.
The Dayton Company logo as of 1918.

Dayton's has roots in R.S. Goodfellow & Company, a dry goods business founded as Goodfellow and Eastman in 1878.[4] George Draper Dayton constructed a six-story building at Nicollet Avenue and Seventh Street in 1902 and convinced Goodfellow's, then the fourth-largest department store in Minneapolis,[5] to become the tenant. The Goodfellow's store opened June 24, 1902, and Reuben Simon Goodfellow retired shortly thereafter, selling his interest to Dayton, who financed and partnered with George Loudon and J.B. Mosher. By 1903, Dayton had bought out both partners and renamed the store Dayton's Dry Goods Company, which he ran with his son, Draper Dayton. In 1911, the name was changed again to The Dayton Company.[6] Former Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is the great-grandson of George Dayton.

Like most regional department stores, Dayton's had major annual sale rotations that it became known for; Jubilee Sale, Daisy Sale, Warehouse Sale and the Anniversary Sale, besides the standard White Sale that most department stores had in January.

In 1962, Dayton's rode the wave of a new era in retailing (discounting) by opening the first Target store in suburban Roseville. It would become a national chain that would, in time, survive the original business.

In 1966, Dayton's opened the first B. Dalton Bookseller in suburban Edina.[7]


  • 1902: Goodfellow's opened for business.
  • 1903: Store renamed Dayton's Dry Goods Company.
  • 1911: Name changes to The Dayton Company.
  • 1949: Dayton's accepts several Cootie games on consignment from William "Herb" Schaper, a Milwaukee postman, fisherman, and toy maker. The game becomes a mega-hit with children and an icon of the baby boomer era.
  • 1952: Acquires Knowlton's department store in Rochester, Minnesota.
  • 1956: Dayton Company opens Southdale Center in Edina, Minnesota, the world's first fully enclosed two-level shopping center.
  • 1962: Dayton's opens first Target store in Roseville, Minnesota
  • 1963: Dayton's opens new store in downtown St. Paul as part of the city's urban renewal project.
  • 1966: Dayton's opens first B. Dalton Bookseller in Edina, Minnesota.
  • 1969: Dayton's acquires J. L. Hudson Company, a dominant Michigan retailer with 21 stores. The combined firm is known as the Dayton–Hudson Corporation.
  • 1971: Dayton-Hudson acquires John A. Brown in Oklahoma and Diamond's in Arizona.
  • 1978: The company acquires Mervyn's and becomes the seventh largest retailer in the United States.
  • 1984: Dayton–Hudson sells off its John A. Brown and Diamond's divisions to Dillard's to focus more on Midwest expansion.
  • 1986: Dayton-Hudson sells off B. Dalton Bookseller to Barnes & Noble.
  • 1990: Marshall Field's is acquired by the Department Store Division of the Dayton–Hudson Corporation.
  • 2000: Dayton–Hudson Corporation changes name to Target Corporation.
  • 2001: Much to the dismay of shoppers in Minneapolis-Saint Paul and Detroit, Dayton's and Hudson's are rebranded with the Marshall Field's nameplate, which has a higher national profile. Most product lines remain the same.
  • 2004: Target Corp. and May Department Stores announce the sale of the Marshall Field's department store group, including the 62 stores serving communities in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Target sells off Mervyn's stores to a private investment fund. (Mervyn's went bankrupt in 2008)
  • 2005: May Department Stores merges with Federated Department Stores, owner of Macy's.
  • 2006: Marshall Field's stores in Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Detroit take the Macy's name, ending the run of Marshall Field's – and the then-still freshly renamed Dayton's and Hudson's – as unique, upscale Midwestern department store brands.
  • 2017: Macy's announces that the Dayton's downtown Minneapolis flagship store, re-branded as a Macy's in 2006, will close by the end of the year. Its final day was Sunday, March 19, 2017, following a clearance sale that included store fixtures and furnishings.


  1. ^ Brady, Tim; El-Hai, Jack; Gihring, Tim; Hutton, Rachel; Kogan, Judy; Ratelle Leach, Carol; Lewis, Courtney; Rosengren, John (2006-11-14). "40 Moments That Changed Minnesota". Minnesota Monthly. Minneapolis. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  2. ^ Ode, Kim (2015-09-08). "From Dayton's to the Dome, some names never change – at least if you've lived here forever". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  3. ^ Prather, Shannon (2017-06-28). "Historians pick through former downtown Daytons". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  4. ^ Atwater, p. 757
  5. ^ Rowley, p. 93
  6. ^ Rowley, p. 94
  7. ^ Laura J. Miller. Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption. pp. 46–47. Retrieved 2009-10-12.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Atwater, Isaac (1893). History of the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Munsell.
  • Leebrick, Kristal. Dayton's: A Twin Cities Institution (The History Press, 2013). excerpt
  • Rowley, Laura (2003). On Target. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0-471-25067-8